Champlain vil. dropping tax rate

— The village will join an elite 1 percent this year in New York state as it's among a select few to drop the tax levy.

The levy will drop from $4.44 per thousand assessed to $4.20 percent. The village is holding steady on water and wastewater fees for this budget for the second year in a row.

“I think we have a phenomenal budget,” said Trustee Amy Gehrig.

Many accounts didn't spend all their allocated funds last year, allowing that money to roll over into this budget and reduce the burden on taxpayers.

Public works especially managed to pinch pennies, with thousands rolled over in snow removal, lighting and paving. The paving rollover was planned, though, to help pay for the Church Street project set to begin this summer.

The last significant change made was at the last budget workshop, when the board decided to skip their pay raise and give that money, a little over $400, to the Department of Public Works supervisor Larry Sorrell.

Village Mayor Gregory Martin said Sorrell's worked hard under a flat pay rate for the last several years while saving the town thousands of dollars through careful planning.

The board paid off the debt for the village's front-end loader and snowplow, so the only debt they're carrying now is for the water and wastewater infrastructure. Martin said the board is doing its best to pay that off early.

Because of the board's conservative budget with no increase to the tax rate despite an overall drop in assessments, if things get tight next year they'll be allowed to roll over an extra 1.5 percent increase to the next budget's 2 percent tax cap. They they said they have no interest in doing that, they could bump the levy 3.5 percent next year if times get tough.

“This budget is conservative, but the financial state of the village is excellent,” said Martin.

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